“It was never a dress”

Why does the women’s bathroom sign have to have the woman wearing a dress? Why is there not another way to show the difference between a man and a woman? Which is why I love this campaign: “It was never a dress.” The campaign has been making its way around Facebook, but I had to see it show up a few times before anyone gave actual credit to the website and the company behind the campaign. Axosoft, a software company launched the site — this is an excerpt from the About page on their website:

“It Was Never a Dress is an invitation to shift perceptions and assumptions about women and the audacious, sensitive, and powerful gestures they make every single day. In science, technology, arts, mathematics, politics, houses of worship, on the streets, and in our homes, insightful women are often uninvited, overlooked, or just plain dismissed. Through storytelling, community building, innovation and creative disruptions, It Was Never a Dress will foster necessary conversations, vital voices, and images from around the world that honor ALL women. When we see women differently… we see the world differently!”

This campaign is about seeing different ideas about women in new ways. How simple and yet impactful an image could be to turn a dress into a cape. For someone who grew up loving her Wonder Woman Underoos, I am just the kind of girl who sees the cape and not the dress. Of course, I am a summer dress wearing fiend. I will try to suck every possible moment of warmth out of the summer to wear a dress and sandals, or flip flops, but I am a cape flying girl first and foremost. With so few superheros for girls growing up, you latch on to one quickly, and mine had a cape!

Take a moment to explore the website. Click on the page for “Disruptions” and create your own version of “It was Never A Dress.” And, if you are feeling inspired share your story. They even have stickers and t-shirts and the proceeds go to “STEAM fields” (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics). Please share “It Was Never A Dress” with others.

Badass Witches

Sometimes we come across something that might be a bit out of our realm. We explore it, it opens our mind, and then we want to share it with others. I bet that happens all the time. Well, I suppose first you have to be looking at the world with an open mind, curiosity, and a desire to learn something new. I came across the blog: “Bad Witches” and a specific blog post titled: “Ten Signs You Are a Bad Witch.” It is an interesting read.

A line in #2 is how I live my life: “This may mean that eventually you go into stealth mode so as not to continually create alarm, but you don’t go stealth because you’re hiding or avoidant. You do it because you’ve got things to accomplish and only a limited amount of time here in the third dimension.” That is the way I see the world. I suck the life out of every damn day. I want to look back and know I did all I could.

#5 is a favorite: “You can always tell when someone is full of it.” So true, so true. I feel like my shit detector is always on, awaiting the moment someone goes on and on, and you think: “they are full of it.” Maybe I watch for that because telling the truth and trust are very important things for me. I cannot stand lies. Once they have started it is very hard to ever gain back that trust (at least for me). Mostly because then you never know going forward what is true and what is a lie.

Why else do I like this article? For many years I have had a strong passion for intuition and listening to the way of the world. I am very aware and in the moment to what my body is telling me and what energy I pick up from those around me. I try to always be very aware of the energy of the person/people I am interacting with throughout my day. Are they happy? Are they present? Do they need me to listen? Do they need guidance? Can I help them? Can I just be present with them?

While this article mentions witches (which is not a term that I gravitate towards) the ideas of being your badass self still resonate. Be your own badass witch.

Workplace: Fewer or more walls?

The world moves and changes at a rapid pace and when I see folks that work in larger companies struggle with on a day-to-day basis is their personal space. As companies grow the trend seems to be moving towards open office environments. Is that the best way or does it look great? This is a recent article from The Washington Post titled: “Google got it wrong. The open-office trend is destroying the workplace” and it is definitely worth a read.

I work in an open office environment. Some days it works and some days it is hard to focus. It is fun, there is transparency, but I am not always sure that everyone is truly as productive in an open environment. Plus it can be highly distracting.

Does the open environment matter based on the individuals that sit in the space? Yes. If you do not get along, you do not necessarily want to have walls down. If you do, it can be so easy to talk and banter with those that sit close to you that you might look back on your day and think about what you really got done. This quote from the article says it all:

“If employers want to make the open-office model work, they have to take measures to improve work efficiency. For one, they should create more private areas — ones without fishbowl windows.  Also, they should implement rules on when interaction should be limited. For instance, when a colleague has on headphones, it’s a sign that you should come back another time or just send an e-mail.  And please, let’s eliminate the music that blankets our workspaces.  Metallica at 3 p.m. isn’t always compatible with meeting a 4 p.m. deadline.”

Private areas to meet when necessary. A place to make private phone calls if needed. Agreed upon rules on music and definitely ones that respect the use of headphones. Maybe we need little “Do Not Disturb” flags at our desk? I wonder if there is an app for that. I do not desire at all to move back to cubicle land, but if you have an open environment there needs to be a thoughtful approach to how it caters to those of differing needs. We are not one size fits all.

Unpaid maternity leave is a sad reality

I love those days when I find similar articles, ideas, and inspiration from different sources. If you have read my blog over the past few months you will see a trend of blog posts about women not being given paid leave after having a baby. It was not something I knew much about until my sister and friends started having babies and didn’t resonate as much until Chris and I started thinking about having a family one day.

As I get older and older, a certain political issue may have a different meaning to me. Once you own your own home you start to look at different laws and legislation differently then when you rented. As you endeavor towards different aspects of your life, your world view expands or maybe contracts (although I hope it only expands). Our country’s unpaid maternity leave standards is something that I still do not understand. How does it show a woman (aka a mother) that not only does her contribution at work matter, but it matters that she (and her husband) take time to take care of their newborn and not worry about paying the bills for those first few ever so important days and months of their baby’s life?

This is why I loved finding these two videos today as a response to Mother’s Day and unpaid maternity leave. The first is actually a clever campaign video from Hillary Clinton. She is right when she says: “It is outrageous that America is the only country in the developed world that does not have paid leave.” and “We can do a lot if we do it together.”

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The below video, from John Oliver on Last Week Tonight, gives his take on America’s unpaid leave policy for women. It is quite hilarious. He shares different examples of women and when they go back to work, and the fact that they get 12 weeks of unpaid leave. I love his comment about the woman who had a baby on Friday and went back to work on Monday. He says: “You have definitely got everyone’s bullshit ‘what-I-did-over-the-weekend story’ beat.”

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Another great line is at 10:30 into the video: “Get the f#$% back to work. Seriously. Because you can’t personally afford to take the time off you want, we are going to need you to bring your exhausted ass back to work and show us that can-do attitude that moms are famous for.” It makes a statement while also being funny.

Pen to paper

I have always put pen to paper. For as long as I can remember I have loved words, stories, and the connection and meaning they have on our lives. In elementary school, writing stories came naturally to me. Maybe it was because the crazy amount of books I read. The books inspired me to write and create my own version of reality. Writing for me came in a variety of forms. I often wrote in a journal and recapped my world, my questions, my painful moments, and sometimes the happy times. Although often I found I was lead to write when things were not good, as it was a way to process and formulate my thoughts and feelings.

For a few years in elementary school, I was the class representative to go to a Young Author’s Conference in my town, where you would bring your handmade book and had to read it in front of a group. If I remember correctly there were even finalists from the conference that went to a state version. In fourth and fifth grade, there was the “Little Hoosiers” writing contest, where we were to write about someone in our life that had grown up in Indiana. One year I wrote about my Great Aunt E’Beth, someone I had interacted with only a few times. She was related to us on my grandmother’s side of the family and had an interesting life. I researched her and her husband’s impact on my hometown in the early 1920’s. It was interesting to learn how integral and active they were in the community, and I found out later that I had won second place in Indiana for my essay on Aunt E’Beth.

Short stories, research/historical writing, and journal writing… there were so many ways that words inspired me. Then something happened. Life got crazy taking care of my mom, college, and then taking care of my grandma. Other things consumed me. I stopped writing and processing a world that sometimes did not always make much sense. Eventually I began to write in a journal almost daily. I made notes of quotes that inspired me. I made sure to spend time every day writing. But nothing like I did as a child. I wrote for me, but never really went back and explored the short fiction writing that I did as a kid. I think about it often and even dream about what it would be like to have a book pour out of my fingertips.

If you write, are a writer, or have that urge to let the words flow, I encourage you to write just a little bit everyday. There is something inside me that wants to go back to being that little girl and write all the crazy ideas that came into my head. I know one day my mind will quiet enough to let the words inside come out. For now, and over the last 3 years my writing has morphed into this blog, and I hope the ideas that have escaped my mind have inspired and uplifted those of you that read random olio.